Monday, November 30, 2009
As I emptied the box,I read bits of my old journals. The earliest journal I have dates back to 1997. The most recent in that particular box was from early 2008. Of course, I did not have the time or the desire to read every page of every journal, but what I did read was very telling.
Much of the content of my journals has to do with love. Dreaming of it, falling into it, embracing it, losing it, regretting it. Pages upon pages of the stuff. As I read these pages, remembering vividly the exhileration and the heartache I experienced in each snippet I read, I realized something: I have been dating the same man for over a decade.
His name changes from time to time. Sometimes he is Kevin. Rich. Harold. Nate. Brian. Sometimes he has a better job, nicer clothes, and a more attractive haircut than he's had at other times. He can be very sweet, or very mean. He is often funny, though his humor has been understated from time to time. He is generally very intelligent. Without fail, he is always kind to me, with the equally predictable bitter aftertaste. He is often needy. He is rarely pleased with me by the time things are over, though he was very pleased with me in the beginning. Inevitably, without exception, he despises me just as much as he once liked me.
Perhaps the most graphic example of that happened with my ex-husband, who went from adoring me to telling me, in no uncertain terms, about the many, many things about me that he hated. "There are a lot of things about you that piss me off, and I want to change them."
Of course, that is not the first time something of that sort has happened. A guy I dated in 2007 claimed to love me enough that he wanted to marry me. Bought me a ring and everything. I was thrilled! Until I found out that his coworkers had a favorite pastime, which was to tell him all the things they perceived as being wrong with me (though they had never met me), all the reasons he should run away from me, and all the times he should have defended me...but didn't. The clincher came when he told me that he liked many things about me, but had a big problem with the fact that I struggled financially. He told me that he was attracted to women who were financially stable and able to meet all their financial obligations. The real kick in the teeth came when he told me that if things didn't work out between us, his world wouldn't fall apart.
I didn't want his world to fall apart. I just wanted him to care a little bit, considering the ring and all.
Then came the guy I was with when I was diagnosed with cancer. As I contemplated what was happening to my life, watching it fall apart piece by piece, his only concern was what would happen with "us", as I seemed preoccupied.
I could go on and on, but I haven't the energy. Looking through the journals was emotionally exhausting. Writing about it in yet another journal afterward was further draining. Now, I am at a point where the only thing I am certain of is that I am certain I have nothing left to give to another relationship. Not now, maybe not ever. I am by no means willing to take another chance like that.
I don't think everyone is meant to know that abiding, lifelong love that we all dream of finding someday. I think I am one of those people who has always longed for that kind of love, thought I'd found it, and been burned by disappointment far too many times. I can't do it again.
For Jaden's sake, I wish this were not so. I wish my heart could be open to at least the possibility of meeting someone and, perhaps, finally finding that love I've longed for all these years. I wish I could be open to that, as it would be lovely if he could have someone in his life to be his dad. I can't do it, though. Not for the foreseeable future. I think I've endured enough pain to last a couple of lifetimes, and I won't be anyone's fool again.
When I was in my early twenties, after enduring those very difficult teen years, I wore a hard shell around my heart. Very few people were allowed in, and I had no interest whatsoever in dating. At this point in my life, I believe that is a good option for me. Perhaps not the most healthy, but it seems the safest.
I don't want to fill anymore journals with tales of heartache.
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